Are you struggling with slow and intermittent WiFi signals? This can be frustrating, especially if you’re in the middle of work or rushing to meet a deadline in school. Although your service provider has a lot to do with this, there is some workaround you can try at home. In this post, I share some ways how to make WiFi connection stronger and less likely to get cut out.
WiFi connection can be fickle sometimes. One time you have a strong and speedy signal then lagging on another. We hope that the tips and tricks below can help boost, if not solve, your connectivity woes.
Why is my WiFi signal slow?
For these methods to be effective, it’s important that you understand why your WiFi signal is slow in the first place. This way, you can pick the methods that apply to your situation well.
Here are some of the common scenarios, which I also personally experienced:
1. Your internet service provider (ISP) has problems.
You can do all the methods below, but if your service provider is the problem, you’re unlikely to get any results.
Aside from that, you should check whether there are advisories from your ISP. Any provider can experience downtimes due to maintenance, damaged facilities, expansion, and so on. Most of the time, the reasons are acceptable and temporary.
2. You have a limited WiFi plan.
Another possibility here is that you availed of a WiFi plan with capping on data consumption. Service providers limit your download speed based on the plan you paid for.
The only way to solve this is to upgrade your plan to a higher limit. This will help boost your WiFi signal and even have access to other perks.
3. Your device has viruses or spyware.
While spyware and viruses often affect device files, they can also have an impact on your WiFi signal. This happens when the computer virus monopolizes your signal. So when you connect other devices to your WiFi, you’ll notice a massive decline in speed.
4. You have an old router.
ISPs upgrade their hardware regularly for good reasons. The main explanation here is to ensure that you’ll enjoy a fast and reliable internet connection.
So if your router is older than four years, you should consider calling your provider for a replacement. You can also purchase a new one that matches your needs.
5. Someone is stealing your WiFi
Anyone can connect to your WiFi without consent if you don’t keep it guarded. It’s important to set a strong password and hide your username if possible. This way, sneaky neighbors won’t sabotage your signal.
6. You’re out of range.
WiFi signals have a maximum range to which you can connect to it. The standard 2.4 GHz has a usual range of up to 150 feet from the router. On the other hand, 5 GHz connections have a shorter range that requires you to stay closer.
In this case, your WiFi connection isn’t really the problem, but your proximity to the router. Below, we discussed solutions on how you can fix this at home.
How to make WiFi connection stronger
If you’re dealing with a slow internet connection, the following hacks might help give it a boost:
1. Connect to an Ethernet cable
The fastest way to get a ‘priority’ signal from your WiFi is to connect directly to an Ethernet cable. While wire clutter can be an issue here, connecting directly to your router is still the best way to boost your device’s WiFi reception.
Aside from that, connecting directly to an Ethernet port on your router provides a stable signal for gaming, streaming, and downloading. The good thing is that most internet routers have more than one Ethernet cable, so you can connect multiple devices at once.
If you want the Ethernet cable to be a permanent fixture, you can install it on your walls. It’s easier if you have other cables installed in the same path or direction.
2. Upgrade to a new router
Sometimes, an old router is the only thing that stands between you and a fast internet speed. Your internet service provider will give you a standard router, but you’re free to upgrade as you wish.
You can purchase routers with TP-link bundles, so you can enjoy fast internet speeds anywhere in your home. However, if you have a large house, I suggest that you invest in a mesh network, which includes the installation of multiple routers.
3. Place your router strategically
Another thing you should think about is the location of your router. As much as possible, put your internet router in the open, away from obstacles and enclosures.
Aside from that, try to place the router at the center of your house. This way, the WiFi signal will be distributed evenly to avoid dead spots.
You should also elevate your router if possible and even mount it on a wall. Just make sure that you’re not placing the router behind or too close to another appliance as it can interfere with the signal.
4. Use a WiFi extender or repeater
WiFi extenders, repeaters, and boosters will help a lot in ensuring that your entire home has connectivity. Still, you should understand that each of these devices is different based on their purpose and how they function.
First, WiFi extenders come in a two-device kit. There’s a device you need to connect to an outlet and your router using an Ethernet cable. Meanwhile, the other device needs to be plugged into the area where you want to boost the WiFi signal.
On the other hand, WiFi boosters are intended to boost the signal between your router and dead zones. It can redistribute and amplify connectivity for a better WiFi experience.
5. Limit the number of connected devices
Another way to boost your WiFi signal is to remove other connected devices. Disconnect all unused devices from your WiFi network as it’s occupying bandwidth space.
Aside from that, you should change your WiFi password. This will automatically disconnect other devices connecting to your WiFi without your permission. You’ll be surprised by how much your internet experience will improve after doing this.
If your household uses multiple devices that are beyond the capacity of your current bandwidth, the best solution is to upgrade your plan.
6. Remove physical obstructions
When setting up your router, you should remove any obstruction that can block the signal. Try to move furniture away from your router to ensure faster and more reliable connectivity.
If this isn’t possible, the best solution is to move your router instead, which we discussed in a separate point above.
Also, if it can’t be helped that there are obstructions, you can use extenders and boosters to ensure that your entire household has an internet connection.
7. Manage ‘bandwidth hoggers’
Is your family streaming and downloading media all at the same time? These bandwidth hoggers will slow down your connection.
It’s best to schedule such data-hungry activities outside of busy hours. This is very important if you’re working from home or performing important tasks that involve an internet connection.
Also, you should watch out for those that steal bandwidth from your WiFi signal. This is why you shouldn’t share your password with anyone.
8. Use a stronger WiFi antenna
Routers are equipped with antennas of varying lengths. However, most are small and weak. This is due to the fact that strong antennas can be very large and hard to hide.
If you don’t mind having a large antenna protruding from your router, consider getting one between 10 to 15 inches. This length can provide up to 10dB more than the average 4-inch antennas fitted on standard routers.
There are many antenna options that you can purchase online. You can also find one with an extended cable, so you can bring the antenna closer to the area you want to have a better signal.
9. Switch to another WiFi channel
Imagine your WiFi as a highway: it has multiple lanes and you can choose where to drive. If one lane is congested, you can transfer to another with much better traffic.
To put this into perspective, such lanes are WiFi channels. Each router can broadcast multiple channels, which are usually set on default.
If you’re a little techie, you can actually set your channel away from the default option. This way, you can enjoy a potentially faster internet signal.
10. Upgrade to 5 GHz connectivity
Modern WiFi connections are now powered by two frequency bands: the older 2.4 GHz and the newer 5 GHz. There’s no denying that the latter is faster and stronger, though it has a shorter range.
To ensure that all devices enjoy a decent WiFi signal, it’s best to split connectivity between these two bands. For example, smart televisions, gaming consoles, and computers can be connected to 5 GHz while speakers, smart home devices, and security cameras are on 2.4 GHz.
This way, connectivity is spread out and not piled up in a single band.
11. Update your internet firmware
When your WiFi signal is slow, the problem could be isolated on your device. You probably have to update your firmware or network driver. This should resolve the problem.
However, if this didn’t settle the issue, you can try the other methods discussed here.
12. Rest and reboot
As much as routers are designed for long-term use, it still needs to rest from time to time. This is to prevent overheating and overloading of the channels.
Make it a habit to turn off and rest your router once in a while. You can do this daily or after several days. Also, many signal problems can be resolved by simply restarting the router.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is my WiFi slower than what I actually paid for?
A: There are various reasons as to why your internet connection seems slower than what you pay for. First, there might be too many devices connected at the same time. Also, there might be issues with your internet service provider. It’s best to contact your ISP to clarify this part.
Q: Why is my internet slow but the speed test shows it’s fast?
A: One possible reason here is that your internet speed is fast per se, but it feels slow on your device because too many are connecting. Also, many speed test tools are hosted on ISPs network servers. This is why you may get a fast result upon checking even if it’s not translating on actual user experience.
Q: Is my router affecting my internet speed?
A: Your internet router can either speed up or slow down your internet connection. An old and outdated router will surely pull down your internet speed even if you’re paying for a much higher limit. However, even if you’re using a new router, the configuration and setting will also affect connectivity.
Q: Can too many devices slow down the internet?
A: Yes, too many devices connected all at once can make your internet experience slow. It’s not because the internet connection is slow. You can have a fast WiFi signal, but if too many devices are trying to take a spot on the bandwidth, it will still feel slow for all the users.
Q: Does having two routers boost internet speed?
A: A second router will not necessarily speed up your internet connection. It can only help you achieve the maximum speed your ISP allows based on your paid plan. It will also help spread WiFi connection throughout your house, especially on spots considered ‘dead areas’.
Q: Do routers get slower over time?
A: Wireless routers do get slower and inefficient over time. This is why you should upgrade after four to five years to ensure seamless functionality. Most ISPs will voluntarily provide this upgrade to ensure that their customers have uninterrupted service.
Knowing how to make WiFi connection stronger in your home only takes a few hacks. Still, the efficacy of the methods I discussed above depends on the actual cause of your poor signal.
When in doubt, you can always call your ISP for assistance. This way, they can assist you to troubleshoot your WiFi connectivity.